Friday 27 June 2014

Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson: we should not worry about the tabloids but about the police

There is an outbreak of one of those periodical fits of morality to which the English are prone because one prominent journalist in England  has been found guilty of telephone hacking and another famous one has been acquitted.

Of course telephone hacking is a crime - and I suppose it is moderately serious - but nothing like the monstrous thing people pretend. 

I was appalled that The News of the World hacked the Prince and Princess of Wales's lines all those years ago and printed what they heard, but no-one else in England cared about this - it was hacking the voicemail of the parents of a murdered child that incensed my countrymen and brought this out into the open.

A raft of journalists have recently been  arrested for corruption, not telephone hacking, under a nineteenth century law that has hardly ever been enforced. Journalists have been paying the police and public servants ever since there was a police and a press. Every media organisation has done this forever. The Telegraph did it to gain insider knowledge of the MPs' expenses scandal and everyone is pleased they did, except the MPs. 

The Met were anxious to pin something on Rupert Murdoch after Sir Paul Stephenson was forced to  resign as commissioner on account of the scandal. This is the reason Andy Coulson was indicted and is going to gaol.

The important conclusion to draw from this is that the press does not need regulating. Things like hacking are already illegal. The second important important conclusion to draw is that the police in England are very much driven by a desire to enhance their own image. This is why, after their appalling their inability to bring to book people like Jimmy Savile a flurry of ageing celebrities have been brought to trail for interfering with minors. Many of them have got off because of insufficient evidence but the conviction of Rolf Harris and Max Clifford makes this look less like a way of saving the police's face. It is clear that the police nowadays, to use a cliche, have their own agenda. We saw that with the police conspiracy to destroy the career of a  cabinet minister, Andrew Mitchell, by telling a pack of lies. 

The police force now seems highly politicised and very authoritarian. Britain is becoming a democratic police state (democratic in the sense that elections are unrigged but not in the sense that common law English freedoms are in good health).

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